Viburnums: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

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Viburnums are a vast group of large, deciduous shrubs that are relatively troublefree and attractive for their flowers, fruits, fall foliage, and shape. Common names include American cranberry bush, hobblebush, and European cranberry bush.

About viburnums
Viburnums are often grown as hedges, screens, or filler plants, and their abundant berries attract birds and other wildlife. Many species have colorful fall foliage and hang onto their blue, red, black, or yellow berries into winter, making them attractive in all seasons. Viburnums bloom in mid to late spring. Some, such as Korean spice bush (V. carlesii), have very fragrant flowers. Some varieties have purple foliage. Blooms in mid to late spring. Plant height ranges from 5 to 15 feet tall and wide, depending on the variety.

Special features of viburnums
Easy care/low maintenance


4-Season interest

Ongoing Care
Apply a layer of compost under the plant each spring, spreading it out to the dripline (the area under the outermost branches). Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Prune to shape after flowering. Prune to remove dead, diseased, or broken branches anytime.

Choosing a site to grow viburnums
Most viburnums prefer a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. Some species tolerate wet soils.

Planting Instructions
Plant in spring or fall. Space plants 5 to 15 feet apart, depending on the expected mature size of the plant. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you've removed from the hole with a small amount of compost. Otherwise don't amend it at all. Carefully remove the plant from the container and set it in the hole. Fill the hole half full with soil, then water it well to settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Let the water drain, then fill the remainder of hole with soil and water thoroughly.

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